Sea Harvest constantly looks for new ways to optimize product quality, and the changes to the Saldanha Bay facility will improve production processes and handling from the receiving of the raw material all the way through to packing the end product.
Sea Harvest has always been driven by a philosophy of continuous improvement and when it looks for the best fishing and fish processing solutions from around the world it returns to Iceland time and time again, visiting Icelandic factories and vessels, which are globally recognized as industry leaders in state-of-the-art fishing and fish processing advances.
Sea Harvest’s factory freezer vessels and two processing facilities process and pack over 100 products for local and international markets.
The company’s determination to maintain the high quality of its products is a key motivation behind the 2018 installation, which is designed to ensure superior handling and a seamless product flow throughout production while minimizing drip loss and controlling temperatures in its land-based facilities.
The new system will also raise productivity and include software for the individual monitoring of KPIs (Key performance indicators).
The Marel installation covers raw material grading, trimming, portion cutting, batching and packing lines. All hardware will be new, except for the freezers and filleting machines.
The software incorporated into the solution will optimize grading, packing and labeling functionalities, as well as ensure traceability and quality control. The flexible solution allows for future growth and seasonal fluctuations.
Sea Harvest has looked to Marel as a leader in fish processing equipment for many years. The company took its first big step towards automation in the late 90s when Marel implemented automatic grading of raw material at their facility, as well as distribution down to the filleting lines.
They visited an Icelandic fish processor to see the benefits of factory floor data collection and had the vision to recognize that automatic data management would be increasingly important for efficiency, productivity and quality in processing.
“Sea Harvest is a leader in its field and Marel is proud to have been part of the Sea Harvest journey for the past 25 years,” says Kristmann Kristmannsson, Area Sales Manager with Marel.
“It takes a dedicated team to transform a whole processing operation and this project is the culmination of many years of working together to develop a world-class facility that would make it easy for Sea Harvest to do what they do best: produce top quality hake.”
Sea Harvest has gone to great lengths to ensure that both the factory and their employees are prepared for the installation, moving to two-shift processing, for example, in anticipation of the new flowline being installed. The company has a progressive HR policy that has a strong focus on employee development – so much so that their mission statement includes ‘providing sustainable employment’.
The nature of jobs at the factory is constantly transforming alongside the introduction of new technologies and this installation is a case in point, with many adjustments that are expected to improve working conditions, as well as create some entirely new roles and opportunities.
The installation will reduce the need to manually transport product between processes, for example, and will ensure accurate and transparent performance monitoring. A further benefit of the installation is that it will promote greater transparency with employees being able to see how they are performing and how they can improve their output themselves.